So what exactly does outsourcing billing services mean for your emergency medical services (EMS) agency? In such a complex industry, EMS agencies have many obligations to ensure the highest level of care and during an emergency the first thought is often not pertaining to costs or billing requirements. By outsourcing billing services, agencies are putting their organization in the hands of dedicated professionals who are focused solely on billing services so your agency can focus on the patient.
Running an EMS billing department can be tricky. The healthcare industry is constantly evolving with new regulations and technology advances occuring more often than not. Billing operations are an integral part of any agency, yet it can deter from the main task of care. For this reason many organizations have turned to external EMS billing companies to support their billing needs. Here are three main reasons why agencies have made the switch:
- Revenue Optimization
With an in-house billing department, agencies are expected to code charts, bill a wide range of payers, and monitor trends all with the goal of optimizing collections to cover costs. Training a professional billing team to perform these functions is a long and expensive process spanning beyond just recognizing relevant industry changes. Without clear processes, your agency risks the chance of claims getting lost, among others challenges. Additionally, with federal payer audits increasing, fines for coding and billing mistakes can be significant, making it crucial to find an organization with revenue cycle management as its core competency to ensure compliance.
When it comes to costs, the benefits of outsourcing far outweigh the downfalls. By sending your billing information to an outside organization, you are putting the menial work in the hands of industry professionals allowing you and your organization to be able to better tend to patient needs at hands. For example, here at Intermedix, clients that have transitioned from an in-house process to outsourcing have on average experienced more than a 25 percent increase in their collections. Outsourcing your EMS billing to a dedicated professional services team that handles implementations while following a very robust and successfully executed implementation methodoly, will allow your practice to forget about billing requirements and focus on the patients.
- Industry Expertise
The constantly changing healthcare environment also initiates changes in technology solutions and compliance making it crucial to have a billing team able to stay informed of new developments and to understand what the changes mean for the agency and the patients.
By outsourcing billing practices to professionals who know the industry inside and out, and live and breath EMS billing, you are able to focus on patient care without having to worry about the latest patient collection or federal reimbursement trends. The EMS billing company is focused on billing and collecting on transports, keeping your agency running smoothly and concentrated on ambulance services. They may also already have costly technology interfaces and connections to hospitals already established. When finding a billing company, it is critical to look for companies with individuals who are members of key EMS organizations and are active in legislative issues to provide the information and services your agency needs.
- Customer Service for Your Patients
After a traumatic 911 event, the best customer service is no customer service. That means that the best thing for an ambulance patient is to not have to worry about how to pay for their emergency transport. Often times, individuals are confused with their insurance plan and what it may cover. Within an agency seeing thousands of patients, each individual’s healthcare plan will differ greatly and can be difficult to understand the technicalities associated with each one.
Outsourcing companies that focused on billing and collecting alone have advanced technology solutions designed to identify information related to that patient’s insurance much quicker and more efficiently than an individual agency. For example, through Intermedix’s technology processes, more than 36 patient accounts get resolved without a patient ever being contacted. Through thousands of already established business rules, this system is built around finding insurance info so your agency does not have to fret about technicalities associated with filing claims.
With the many intricate aspects involved in managing an EMS department it is no wonder that so many agencies have made the switch to outsourcing. If you are looking for a billing partner, it is important to find the right one that is best for you and your agency.